Antony Sweeney set to make changes to Hartlepool United side for Sheffield Wednesday trip - if he remains in charge
Antony Sweeney has hinted that there could be a number of changes for Hartlepool United in their Papa John’s Trophy tie - if he is still in charge when it comes to making the decision.
Pools travel to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday in the second round of the competition on the back of Saturday’s League Two defeat at Port Vale.
Sweeney continues to lead first team duties as the club search for their new manager following Dave Challinor’s exit earlier this month and looks set to take charge of his second Papa John’s Trophy fixture having led Pools to a 1-0 victory over Everton U21’s at the Suit Direct Stadium which secured their passage into round two.
Pools are unbeaten in the competition having collected six points in the group stages finishing second to Carlisle United with one win and two draws.
It meant Pools were handed an away tie in the second round and they couldn’t have been handed a tougher fixture than against the Owls.
But with the club struggling for form in League Two, Sweeney suggested there may be some squad rotation for the trip to Hillsborough before another cup tie at Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday.
“It might not be my decision [to pick the team]. But I would imagine there will be changes,” Sweeney told The Mail.
“We can’t flog players to death. This has been a tough schedule, not just physically but psychologically, and when things aren’t going your way that can drain energy levels as well.
“We’ll pick a side that we believe can match and compete and win the game but also that can physically do what we require.
“There’ll be opportunities for players. I keep saying we can’t rely on 11 players to get us where we need to be. It’s a squad game. If you get an opportunity you’ve got to take that.”
One player who looks set to miss out is forward Luke Molyneux. The 23-year-old came off at half time in the defeat at Port Vale with a calf problem.
Stoke City loan pair Eddy Jones and Will Goodwin both featured at Vale Park at the weekend and could continue at Hillsborough while Jonathan Mitchell is expected to replace Ben Killip in goal with the 27-year-old having featured in all three group games in the competition.
Like most clubs, Pools will head into their second round tie with their priorities laying elsewhere this season, but with £20,000 up for grabs with a win over the Owls Sweeney admits Pools will be heading to South Yorkshire to win.
“The priorities have never changed. That doesn't mean you go into games not caring about them. There’s a lot of hard work gone into them so you may as well try and win them regardless of the team you put out. But we know where the priorities lie.”
Pools have already scooped £40,000 in this years competition for their participation and group stage results against Carlisle, Morecambe and Everton U21’s.